Today was an Ikea day for us. Its a bit of an event for us the kids run wild testing out the furniture and getting coo’d at by Japanese people the entire time. My oldest quickly made friends in the store with a pair of little boys that were about his age and very eager to use their English on him. They would run over and blurt out “thank you” then giggle and run away. My oldest seems to shrug off the attention from the adults (I am not sure that I fault him for ignoring them as on days like today he probably had 50+ people come up and pet his hair or tell him hes cute although I do try and prompt him into saying thank you and bye) The bug on the other hand eats it up He just loves all the attention he gets.

Anyway what I was originally meant to post about was the stark difference in seatbelt laws here in Japan. I noticed that they seem not to exist over here. Today while stuck in bumper to bumper traffic on the way to Ikea I happened to be behind a minivan with a 6 or 7 year old girl in the back of the van….building a fort in the car! No really she had a blanket she was stretching out like a tent in the back seat wondering from one side of the car to the other to do so and when she got it exactly where she wanted it she climbed inside. Also most Japanese moms that I know will carry their infants on their laps in a vehicle regardless of whether there is a car seat for the baby or not. Also while watching this little girl in the van in front of us build a fort I was passed by several family’s with unbelted children. A couple with children as young as my boys (I couldn’t even imagine what would happen if I let my boys run loose in the car while I drove. My 2 year old would probably immediately jump onto my lap and “help” me drive. With all of this said I have noticed “seatbelt campaign” signs on the highways here. So who knows either people totally disregard the law or maybe buckling up is only a suggestion here in Japan.

My Friend Theresa took this video while staying in Tokyo

You have to watch this through to the end but I could just not get over this.  When you watch it try to Imagine your local construction workers following the same routine :)

The Japanese make everything a team effort I hope this illustrates the mentality a bit for you

I know I have posted about studio ghibli before but I just finished watching a marathon of their films and have fallen in love all over again.  I have always seen Anime as films mainly about fighting and sex not anything that I would ever wish my children to see.  But thats the wonderful about living overseas being surrounded by another culture can open your eyes to things in ways you never imagined.  Ghilbli films are the most heartwarming movies I have ever seen.

I don’t think I have a favorite necessarily but my son loves ”となりのととろ” my neighbor Totoro  you instantly fall in love with the main character Mei chan.

Another one of hayao miyazaki’s films “the grave of the fireflies” is by far the most heart wrenching movie I have ever seen.  I had a hard time watching it through to the end and I think I cried more through this film than I ever have during a movie.  I don’t think I could ever watch this movie a second time but I certaintly do not regret seeing it.

I just finished watching Nausicaa of the valley of the wind which was again a wonderful movie which has a beautiful underlying message and exhibits a very buddhist sentiment of trying to see things with eyes unclouded.

Kikis delivery service is one that is good for small children its fun and magical.

There are just so many and I love them all

I had originally planned on going into great depth but I just realized I have a ton of christmas sewing to do and I am procrastinating on purpose.

ghibli montage

I just stumbled across this etsy shop and fell in love.  It is absolutely perfect for making kits for the neighbors and those people you see every now and then but just do not have the space in your budget to buy elaborate gifts for.  I plan on stashing a few for people that drop by unexpectedly as well.  You can find the shop here Littlebrownpen.

I already grabbed the calender, stationary set, gift tags and rainy day recipe pack all for a grand total of $14 and they can all be printed out as many times as you wish.  I plan on making a bunch of felt ornaments to go along with the gift bags and wallah that takes care of a huge portion of my Christmas list!

Their shop video is adorable as well.




Vote Pendant

Originally uploaded by Amanda Lockrow

Are you a cool mama? Then you need some funky jewelry. This super cool pendant happens to be made by my super cool sister. And best of all it isn’t made from a scrabble tile although she does manage to use just about every other medium under the sun in her pieces everything from pearls and silver to fabric and funky beads. She has recently been featured in too many blogs to count and in print ads as well. How cool is that? She deserves it because she really is super talented. I own a few of her pieces and really love them my Favorite is my spiraling home necklace you can see it here http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=13424539 I love the simplicity of it and the small pearl detail on the chain. Now to stop putting off making my sons halloween costume…oh hmm I see some fabric that needs to be erm folded and sorted by color maybe ill get to finishing the costume tomorrow.




IMG_2423

Originally uploaded by tokyo mommy

Your bike starts to take root. This was one of the many fun and amusing things I saw this past weekend on my trip to Nippori with my neighbors. They are wonderful people and I had a great time and was even able to help a bit in translating here and there. Even though my Japanese is somewhat hit or miss when It comes to fabric I know every term in the book lol. There are oh so many things I have been meaning to blog about and I have been so insanely busy that I never actually managed to make the time. so I will summarize

I went camping with my family it was an awesome trip an just the downtime we all needed. Even if there were wild boars digging around our tent at night (which totally freaked me out)

I bought a new computer and am running a Mac now and have no idea how to use the darn thing but it really is a pretty machine I love that there is one cord the power cord and that is all my not so trusty PC had about 75 cords sticking out of it and I am almost certain it should have caused my house to burn down so I am more than happy to be rid of it even if I am more than a little slow when it comes to my mac. Just the other day I managed to loose an entire document . I write a newsletter for a NPO and since I was moving everything I had to start the newsletter from scratch on my mac I mean type out almost everything and make templates and try and find appropriate art I had it nearly finished and *poof* it disappeared. Either I did not save it or I saved it to a location unbeknownst to me or gremlins came in the middle of the night and erased it (Im betting on the latter)

I had a chance to try english paper piecing for the first time last friday at quilt group. I love it and I love quilting more and more each day. But I think I am the only person out there that can make paper piecing come out uneven oops.

I am also doing alterations on a ball gown and am both quite intimidated and impressed with myself at the same time! Who knew I had it in me to try it…espically because it isn’t my dress I am trying it on. But so far so good I am taking a dress with sleeves and making it sleeveless. Wish me luck!

And last but not least I have a ball to go to this week! Woo Hoo its being held at a very fancy hotel and best of all we get to stay the night at the hotel! The hotel also houses my favorite resturant here in Japan the service at the resturant is unbeatable and the food is fantastic.

ok so its past midnight and my bedtime hopefully I will get a bit better about blogging before I forget most of the main details.




Sept Fabric

Originally uploaded by tokyo mommy

Suzuko koseki is my new favorite designer and obviously she is very inspired by the zakka movement here in Japan. I think I love all of these fabrics equally. I am thinking of selling these as a set maybe a FQ bundle. I really wish I could get entire bolts I am going to start to do some online investigating.




IMG_1858

Originally uploaded by tokyo mommy

So it seems that I can’t create anything right now aside from knocking out an occasional towel for my kitchen. I want to make a small coin purse from my most recent cotton time mag. But alas I think Noah may have stashed my magazines somewhere where I will never again be able to find them. In other news I made shrimp fra divolo tonight…it turned out wonderfully defiantly a recipe I will be trying again. It was a hit with Noah as well so thats always a good sign. I am really excited I bought a bike trailer off of my husbands co-worker and tomorrow I am going to buy a new bike…and not just any bike but the coolest bike ever. Its bright red with 2 baskets and a bell. I should really blog about the bikes here in Japan.

This is a bit political sort of…but speaking of bikes makes me think of fuel prices. I Hate that people are so up in arms over fuel prices. I don’t think a luxury like gasoline should be dirt cheap. I hear constantly about how people are moving to be closer in proximity to town centers and where they work…Great! And the fuel prices are making people get on their bikes now and then to save a few bucks…wonderful! here a a couple fun facts I found the other day

The Hubble telescope has orbited the earth 100,000 times.
And has traveled 2.72 billion miles since it was launched which is approximately the equivalent of 5,700 round trips to the moon. 2.72 billion miles is also the distance traveled by every car in the U.S every 3 hours!!! This stat only takes vehicles in the us into account imagine if this number took vehicles worldwide into account. We do this every 3 hours OMG. Anyone else get the feeling of impending doom when they read that stat? I sure did. How is there enough oil on earth to sustain one day of our driving habits? Thinking about this on a global level makes me shudder a bit.

Then the other day when gas prices lowered a bit edmunds.com reported that the most common vehicle type searched changed from fuel efficient hybrid car to hybrid SUV. I think we have collective ADD as a country. If our face isn’t being rubbed in something every second we forget.

So now that I am in a full environmental rant…I may as well toss in an Idea I have had for awhile. The town where my aunt used to live had very strict recycling policy’s. Basically the town would not pick up unsorted trash. They only picked up recycling. if you had “normal trash” you had to bring it to the dump and pay for it. I would love to see a presidential candidate throw this Idea out to our military. Make our bases testing grounds for these sorts of environmental programs. I think it was ft. brag that saved itself a couple million dollars through its recycling program all army bases should be doing this. Every Army base should at the very least offer curbside pickup for recyclable materials.

Anyway. Every day Americans toss 44 million newspapers in the trash which is the equivalent of tossing 500,000 trees into a landfill every week. (one reason I don’t subscribe to the local paper) If you have a scary enviro fact like this please feel free to leave a comment with it.

I am too tired to keep ranting but I hope everyone else has a great night.




Fabric for Tia

Originally uploaded by tokyo mommy

well I finally did it and opened an etsy shop to appease my husband. I am a bit overwhelmed I didn’t realize exactly how complicated this little venture would be. Marketing, Shipping charges, Pricing, Photographs and all the little details like what to package things in I have to put everything in a waterproof barrier just in case. I feel bad it seems a bit wasteful to double pack things. Another problem is the language barrier with the postal service that can be interesting.

I also hold a board position in my spouses club and really really need to get working on our newsletter. Do you ever wish you could physically divide yourself to get more work done?

This morning I have a Japanese lesson with my children. Then Lunch with my awesome husband. Then a trip to the gym while the kids nap. When I get back I have to start working on a newsletter my goal is to get it about halfway done. Then maybe get the kids outside for a bit if it isn’t sweltering cook dinner & get everyone fed. Then after dinner I hope to go check out our Buddhist service on post, and hopefully when I get back home I can get a few more listings up on etsy so…woo-hoo thats going to be my day today! If you are a mom as well it probably sounds similar to yours in many ways. Not to mention any time I am on the computer one of my children manages to find a spot on my lap to “assist” me this is even more helpful when its my 10 month old who loves to smack the buttons on the keyboard he has even “helped” a bit with this blog entry. Its almost 9 am time to get going.

Leave a comment on any post for a 10% discount in my shop on your first order. Mention your blog comment in the message to the seller when you check out and I will refund you the 10%.

Hope you all have a great day!

You can find my shop at tokyomommy.etsy.com


New Sewing Machine

Originally uploaded by tokyo mommy

My new sewing machine arrived the other day and what a Joy. It is the Kenmore 110 stitch model and I must say I was a bit more than pleased with my self when I traveled to Yuzawaya the other day and played around with a Janome machine almost completely identical for close to $700 more than I paid for my machine from sears. I did quite a bit of research before I purchased my machine but I didn’t realize exactly what a great deal I was getting until I could physically compare my machine to the ones sold here in Japan.

I think people overlook the Kenmore brand but honestly their customer service has been great so far and feature for feature you can’t beat the price and the warranty is actually a bit better than what you get at a high end dealer a full 25 year parts warranty and a 90 money back guarantee. The machines stitches are so solid it reminded me of my friends 40 year old Viking. The machine is also incredibly easy to use any beginner could jump right on and start using it. I think the only pitfall if you could call it that is that the horizontal spool pin and bobbin winding system takes a bit of getting used to. But once you get it figured out its no problem whatsoever.

In other news I finally got my etsy shop up and running I am very excited and very nervous as well. I had my first sale this week and was a bit blown away at international shipping rates I ate quite a large fee and had to immediately fix my rates. Other than that I am very optimistic. Wish me well!

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